No, Michel Aoun Falling Is Not Funny, Nor Is It Material To Humor Us

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Michel Aoun tripped and fell. It’s the Arab League Summit – however useless that might be. Lebanon is participating with a president for the first time since 2013, and while walking to the podium, Lebanese president Michel Aoun sustains a fall. Bring out the guillotines.

It all takes 3 seconds. He’s pictured to be okay afterwards. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal. In any decent country, and regardless where people fall on the political spectrum, their president falling like that would at least elicit some kind of empathy.

Not in Lebanon.

Michel Aoun falling is now an indication of his health status. I’m sad to inform you it’s not. Anyone can trip and fall. It’s now the go-to joke. I’m sad to inform you it’s not a joke. It is now the easiest video to send on WhatsApp groups with our lousy internet to get your friends replying with as much “HAHA” as you can get out of them. I’m sad to inform you it’s not funny.

There’s nothing cute about an elderly 80 year old man tripping and falling. It’s not for your enjoyment, and it sure as hell is not something to humor you. His political past has nothing to do with this. I do not agree with almost anything he says or does (or said or did), but he is still an old man who fell and that is not even acceptably funny.

In my first year of specialty in Internal Medicine last year, I dealt with countless elderly patients who went through falls such as this. The consequences could have been, and are usually, disastrous: from fractures to concussions to extended hospital stays. I’m glad that president Aoun is okay after this.

Medicine aside, imagine had this happened to any of you – regardless of your age. I’m sure your first reflex would be to care more about your phone, but such falls are painful and, when coupled with people around you laughing their asses off, humiliating.

Imagine this happening to your grandparents. Would you propagate their fall coupled with all the “LOLs” you can type out? I sure hope you don’t.

You can not agree with Michel Aoun politically. That’s what makes this country (seemingly) a democracy. You can bash the hell out of his stances about freedom of speech, electoral laws, anything you disagree with for that matter. But when it comes to ridiculing him as an old man who happened to sustain a fall, then I’m afraid to tell you that is never okay.

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Et Tu, Egypt?

As I’m writing this, everything is going haywire in Tahrir Square.

Egyptians have cracked. They are no longer a united front.

Blame it on whoever you want… money, poverty, Mubarak’s influence… it all comes down to this: Change has been betrayed.

I was honestly optimistic that Egypt would be the major catalyst in the reaction of change in the Middle East.

I remember a very wise Chemistry professor at AUB telling me, when I attended class amid the May 7th protests in Lebanon, about one of his visits to the Arab League Summit.

He was sitting there and a man approached him and told him: “Who’s the odd-one in this group of leaders?”

My professor looked at him questionably. The man answered, “Amin Gemayel”, the Lebanese president at the time.

“Why’s that?” my professor asked. The man replied: “He’s the only one who won’t be here in five years”.

This little story shows how it’s all been the same since the 1980s in this region: same people governing, same people doing the same things all over again. This region needed this reaction of change.

But with one speech from one of those people, everything went wrong. The catalyst is now working for the reverse reaction: status quo.

This is where we are heading back. Mubarak has definitely showed other leaders around the region what he’s capable of. He single-handedly contained a massive two-million-plus protest in one day and reversed everything it did.

People in Egypt are now fighting each other. Molotov cocktails are being thrown, bricks from the roads are being torn apart to be used as projectiles, bricks are being thrown from rooftops, boiling water being poured on protesters… a massacre is starting on the streets of Tahrir Square. The army is apparently beginning to fight the protesters. Activists are being hit with rocks. They are bleeding on the streets. Nurses and doctors are nowhere to be found. Even Anderson Cooper was punched in the head 10 times. Thugs are infiltrating the peaceful protests and a bloodbath is forming.

My Lebanese friends are reporting that they are afraid for their lives now. They are trying to escape but the army is blocking all the exists. The protesters are surrounded. There’s no way to go. I am afraid for them and I can’t even begin to imagine the fear they must be feeling right now. What civilized country in the world turns protests into an event where your life is threatened? Into an event that is slowly turning into mass-killing?

Long gone are the days when we thought January 25th is a sign of hope for the region. Long gone are the days when we thought there’s even hope for hope in this region.

And for what? for this man, who contrary to what he announced yesterday, is still, 30 years later, starving for even more power. Mubarak, you are a coward. You are not a man. A man would respond to his people’s concerns. He wouldn’t resort to killing those who rise against him. He would hear what they have to say. You are not worth of your country. You are not worthy of life.

And the ironic thing is… what will tomorrow’s headline be?

Egypt Protests Contained

What will the American stance from this be?

We support whatever the Egyptian people want

And where will the Egyptians be? Either dead on the streets of Tahrir Square or back in their stinking poverty.

Change to Egypt: Et tu, Egypt?